Following the passing of the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill through the Houses of the Oireachtas, IFA’s Retail Project Team has said the legislation is a missed opportunity by the Government and does not go nearly far enough to address the imbalance of power in the food supply chain.
IFA President Eddie Downey said there is huge concern by farmers that the exclusion in the legislation to regulate below-cost-selling leaves it toothless. “Farmers will judge the legislation on the basis of how retailers behave. We cannot have a repeat of the outrageous discounting by retailers that occurred in the fruit and vegetable sector last Christmas.”
“IFA‘s position has always been that an independent Ombudsman should be appointed by the Government, similar to the Groceries Code Adjudicator in the UK, to oversee and implement this legislation. IFA is concerned that the proposed new Authority (Competition and Consumer Protection Commission), will not be sufficiently independent to provide anonymity and confidentiality to suppliers and this will deter them from making complaints and disclosures.”
Eddie Downey said IFA will await the publication of the draft Regulations which will now follow from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. He said IFA will be making the case that these Statutory Instruments provide the necessary protection to the primary producer in order to ensure a fairer return to producers, which covers the cost of production and leaves a margin to reward their work and investment.